Abu Hurairah (RadhiyAllahu ‘anhu) narrated that Rasoolullah (Sallallahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam) said “Verily there shall be no reward for a righteous pilgrimage except Jannah (Paradise)”. [Mishkaat]
InshaaAllah the twelfth Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah will commence in approximately two weeks. Those who have already been for Hajj fondly remember their journey to the Baitullah, the first House of worship. (House of Allah). There is no one on earth who would not give anything to be the guest of Allah. Indeed Allah alone invites who he wishes to His sacred House. “And proclaim to the people the Hajj [pilgrimage]; they will come to you on foot and on every lean camel; they will come from every distant pass. That they may witness benefits for themselves and mention the name of Allah on known days over what He has provided for them of [sacrificial] animals. So eat of them and feed the miserable and poor.” [Surah 02/Hajj, v:27-28] Known as the journey of a lifetime, one can understand why as the Hajj journey encompasses communion with Allah; camaraderie; and endurance of the body, mind and soul.
Picture it… People of different colours and denominations pray to their Lord Most High in different tongues, having various needs. They pray for their heart’s desires, for their pilgrimage to be accepted, for forgiveness and the ultimate pleasure of their Lord Most High. Thronging around the Ka’bah Shareef they cry in unison “We are at your service O Allah we are at your service. We are at your service, no partner do you have. Indeed all praise, favour and authority belong to you. No partner do you have”. (Talbiyah)
Better known as the Talbiyah or Labbaik, it is uttered several times on the Hajj journey. The Haajis (pilgrims) show their submissiveness and helplessness to Allah having rajaa and ihtisaab (hope and expectation) that Allah ‘Azza wa Jall will honour their visit by accepting their pilgrimage.
The essence of Hajj is captured at ‘Arafah (one of the compulsory acts of Hajj). Millions of Haajis raising their hands with tear-stained faces begging Allah for forgiveness. Yaa Rabb! What a sight! My father said it reminded him of how we will all be raised on Yaumul Hashr. Others standing in their groups behind their Imaam or Shaikh or Moulana crying in supplication to Allah. They have hope that Allah will make them one of those whom He boasts of (those whom He frees from Fire) to the Angels as occurs in the hadith: “Verily Allaah boasts of the people of ‘Arafah before the people of heaven (the angels), saying: ‘Look to my servants who have come to Me dishevelled and dusty.”[Ahmad]
Everyone, rich or poor, famous or not is but a pilgrim sleeping under the stars at Muzdalifah. The stoning of the Jimaar (pillars) at Mina is an extremely close moment between Allah and His servant. It is a time of submission and obedience to Allah. Some pilgrims feel as if they are stoning the devil himself, others feel as if they are removing the burden of sin with every pebble cast. In reality we remember Ibraheem (‘Alaihis Salaam) who pelted Iblees (Satan) with seven stones each at three different places when he tried to dissuade him from sacrificing his son Isma’eel (‘Alaihis Salaam). This action is imitated by all Hujjaaj (pilgrims), symbolising one’s acknowledgement that Shaitaan is one’s enemy and ought to be repulsed all the time especially in a time of trial.
The day of ‘Eid-ul Adhaa arrives and pilgrims sacrifice their animals for the pleasure of Allah. It is a tiring day indeed, one of endurance as Tawaaf-uz-Ziyaarah is performed. Then back to the streets of Mina, white with the garb of pilgrims. The takbeer can be heard miles away. What a happy time this is, real happiness of a mu’min (true believer) because if we have pleased our Rabb, there can be no greater happiness!
Throughout the journey, one witnesses many things. You see what you want to see. If you want to see the good, you will. I remember touching acts of kindness during my Hajj. Menfolk ensuring safety of their women and the aged, women taking care of woman’s baby whom they have never met so that she could pelt at the Jamaraat, friends feeding each other and urging them to go on when the weariness of the journey set in. For me this was the heart of my journey, the sympathy and kindness for one’s fellow Haaji was just so beautiful to watch. It is a picture of unity. In the end we are all the same before Allah and Allah is the final Judge.
May Allah accept the Hajj of all those who will be the honoured guests of Allah this year!